Guided hikes from Port St. Johns to Coffee Bay

The Port St. Johns to Coffee Bay Hiking Trail goes through some of the most beautiful hiking landscape in South Africa. The trail hugs a stretch of coastline along the former Transkei homeland, and is unspoilt and barely touched by development. You will walk along rolling grassy hills dotted with colourful huts, idyllic beaches, estuaries flanked by thick coastal forest and cliffs with stunning sea views. Hikers sleep in hikers’ huts and village accommodation. You will also learn a little bit of Xhosa Language and experience the Xhosa food. If you’re hiking at the right time of the year, you will most likely see dolphins and whales.

The duration of the hiking trail is five days with four overnight stops.

N.B. We also offer 1 day to 3 days hike for those who don’t have enough time to do the whole 5 days.


Cultural Tours, Township Tours, Tours to Nelson Mandela Museum, day tours in and around Port St Johns town.

Xhosa culture

The hike passes through no less than eight rural Xhosa villages, giving you a chance to explore the rich culture of the Xhosa people. The guides are local Xhosa themselves and they will give you more insight into the daily life, rituals and customs of the people. During the day’s hike, the guides will point out local plants and tell you about their medicinal use and at night, they will entertain you with stories.

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Your guides and hosts

wild coast hike, south africaYour guide on the hike is Jimmy Selani, a registered guide since 1998 and the winner of the Best Emerging Guide in South Africa in 2004.

In 2013 I registered my company-WILD TOURS (Reg No.2013/047332/07).

We also making use of the services of the following GUIDES:

  1. Sisa Felani
  2. Sipho Maqiya
  3. Yongama Manjezi
  4. Ncediwe Sitoyile
  5. Delekile Sigotyana.

As our region has a high rate of unemployment our mission is to employ more youth.

Wild Tours is playing its part in poverty eradication by

Ncediwe Sitoyile(guide)
Ncediwe Sitoyile(guide)

making use of Village Based Accommodation, organizing hostesses training and workshops, Tourist Guides training for the local youth and offering them jobs.

The main services offered along the hiking trail – guiding, accommodation and meals, are all

supplied by Xhosa locals and

Other guides.
Other guides and porters

communities. The benefits of such a community

Tourist guide training in progress
Tourist guide training in progress


developed, environmentally sensitive tourism will be felt not only by the hikers on the trail, but by the people of the communities – the guide, local shops and entrepreneurial enterprises along the route.



Accommodation and meals

Overnight accommodation is provided in hikers’ huts or in Xhosa huts in the villages. The huts are well located to provide for a good day’s hike along the coast and are beautifully situated. When accommodation is provided in a village, you stay with the community in a separate hut with a shower and toilet.These guest homes provide basic service standards and traditional hospitality. Your stay in the villages will give you a chance to meet and befriend the communities.

Accommodation includes overnight stay, bedding, breakfast and dinner.

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Mama Christina(left) and her helper
Mama Christina(left) and  her helper

wild coast hike, south africa

Trail route & itinerary

Day 1: Port St Johns to Madakeni

Distance: +- 12km
Walking time: +- 5 hours
Terrain: Hilly at the start. Flattens out in afternoon section
Highlights: Wildlife at Silaka Nature Reserve • Panoramic views of Sicambeni

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The hike departs from Second Beach in Port St. Johns and heads towards Sugarloaf Rock. The trail then veers slightly inland towards Sicambeni. You stop for lunch at the Umngazi River Mouth. After lunch, the trail closely follows the coast. After stopping at a beach for a refreshing swim, you reach the Mngazana River in the mid afternoon. Here you can canoe on the estuary and explore the lush mangroves (if requested).

Day 2: Madakeni to Tsweleni

Distance: +-12km
Walking time: +- 6 hours
Terrain: Hilly
Highlights: View from Brazen Head • Approach to Tsweleni in its coastal village setting

The hike departs early in the morning from Madakeni Village and traverses indigenous forest towards Brazen Head. You stop for lunch in the inland village of Mpande. After lunch, relax and swim at Sinangwana Beach before heading out to Tsweleni Village which you reach in early afternoon. You’re at your leisure to rest or explore the beach.

Day 3: Tsweleni to Hluleka

Distance: +- 14km
Walking time: +- 6 hours
Terrain: Rolling hills and flat beaches
Highlights: Mpande rock pools • Shark’s Point • Mnenu River • Game in Hluleka Nature Reserve

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Day 3’s hike leads through the undulating hills of Ginqi to the Mnenu river. After lunch, the hike continues to Hluleka Nature Reserve. You reach the village where you are to stay the night in early evening.

Day 4: Hluleka to Tshani Village

Distance: +- 14km
Walking time: +- 5 hours
Terrain: Rolling hills
Highlights: River trip • Walk into Tshani village

After breakfast, you continue hiking inland to Mamaolweni for lunch. You arrive at Tshani in the early evening.

A massage service is available on request at a more than reasonable price.

Day 5: Tshani Village to Coffee Bay

Distance: +- 14km
Walking time: +- 5 hours
Terrain: Flat
Mdumbi and Mthatha Rivers • Approach over Maphuzi Cliffs into Coffee Bay

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Hike from Tshani Village down to Mdumbi River. You cross the river by ferry and can enjoy a morning swim on Mdumbi beach. You then head out to the Mthatha River and another ferry crossing. The trail heads towards Maphuzi, over the cliffs and ends in Coffee Bay.

Departure time & place

The trail starts at Second Beach in Port St. Johns. You will be picked up either at your place of residence or at an pre-arranged spot in Port St. Johns. The hike departs at 9:00a.m.

If you’re using public transport to get here, you can take the Baz Bus or mainline coaches to Mthatha and catch a shuttle with either Amapondo Backpackers or Jungle Monkey Backpackers to Port St. Johns. Please pre-book the shuttle to guarantee a space.

There are also several minibus taxi routes that end in Port St. Johns. If you’re using minibus taxis, please remember to do your homework beforehand.

What to bring along

Please bring along snacks for lunch,money for refreshments and spending, rain suits, hiking boots, sun cream, mosquito and tick repellent cream.
Please don’t bring too much food with you, as there are small shops at each stopover.

Please don’t bring sleeping bags as bedding is provided for at the Village Based Accommodation.

If you need a porter to carry your belongings, one is available on request.

What weather to expect

Summers in the Wild Coasts are very hot and sunny. Mid summer temperatures (in January) peak at 28°C. However, November and December is the rainy season, so remember to bring along some waterproofs.

Winter is mild and warm during the day with daytime lows of 17°C. Evenings are cooler with night time lows of 9°C.

More about Wild Coast Hikes

Backpacking South AfricaWild Coast Hikes is an initiative of Backpacking South Africa, Eastern Cape. Backpacking South Africa (BSA) is an organization tasked with improving the experience of backpackers visiting South Africa. Visit their website for more information.

The residents of villages along the Wild Coast rely on subsistence farming and state welfare for their livelihood. The aim of the project is to create an opportunity for the communities to benefit from tourism, such as stocking of local shops for tourists; employment of ferry operators; provision of meals; selling of crafts; and traditional and cultural interactions with tourists.

Initially, an informal network of guides in Port St. Johns operated along the trail. They were largely responsible for their own marketing. BSA is assisting in the marketing and promotion of the guides, facilitation of specific training needs, improvement of service standards and business administration support.